Islands Trust Council will be focusing on five priorities for the remainder of the current electoral term, having approved its 2018-22 strategic plan in December.
Projects and policy will centre on the areas of climate change, land stewardship, marine and freshwater stewardship, community and communication, and governance.
“The Islands Trust mandate is to preserve and protect,” Islands Trust Council chair Peter Luckham stated in a news release. “Having adopted our strategic plan, we will now focus on responding to the challenges facing the Islands Trust Area. We will be working at both the regional and local levels to advance the priorities of this Trust Council.”
The plan provides a framework to guide decision-making and resource allocation in addition to forming a basis for 2020-21 fiscal year budget preparations.
Luckham observed that Trust Council joined other voices around the globe to declare a climate emergency in 2019. Therefore, many elements of the strategic plan will address climate change mitigation and adaption. Relationships with local First Nations will also be a major lens for guiding policy.
“As the strategic plan implementation takes place, reconciliation will be fundamental to the Islands Trust’s work. Through the Reconciliation Action Plan, Islands Trust Council will strive to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action,” the news release explains.
The plan specifically includes 23 strategies in support of nine objectives: to preserve, protect and advocate for forest and terrestrial ecosystems; preserve and protect marine ecosystems; protect the quality and quantity of freshwater resources of the Trust Area; mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts; improve community engagement and participation in Islands Trust work; strengthen housing affordability throughout the Islands Trust Area; strengthen relations with First Nations; improve and modernize the ability of the Islands Trust to regulate land use activity and work with others; and amend the Islands Trust Policy Statement.
Work has already started in regard to the final objective listed. In September 2019 the Trust launched Islands 2050, a public engagement process designed to helped revise the policy statement. Multiple in-person sessions took place over the fall, and comments were sought online.
The Trust is still looking for more online input and will be hosting a conversation on the Thought Exchange platform until Jan. 31. Participants can weigh in on what they value about the Islands Trust Area, and voice their concerns for the region over the next 30 years in light of climate change. For more information, visit www.islandstrust.bc.ca/trust-council/projects/islands-2050/.